The coronavirus pandemic hit the smartphone market hard at the beginning of 2020, but while global demand gradually recovered during the year’s second half, overall sales were unsurprisingly down from 2019.
Looking ahead, most market research firms expect the mobile industry to continue its slow but steady rebound in 2021 and possibly conclude the year
with a very similar number of handsets shipped around the world as back in 2019.
Of course, the COVID-19 threat is set to linger on for the foreseeable future, pushing many consumers towards cheaper devices rather than no new devices at all. At the same time, however, the not-so-affordable iPhone 12 Pro
and 12 Pro Max
are expected to remain incredibly successful through the end of Q1 2021 (and most likely, beyond), crucially contributing to a huge year-on-year progress in shipments for the industry as a whole.
Will Apple keep Samsung at bay?
If the latest forecast put together by Digitimes Research
proves accurate, overall smartphone sales could jump by almost 50 percent in the January – March timeframe compared to the same period of 2020. We’re talking a grand total of roughly 340 million units, more than 60 million of which are likely to be sold by a single Cupertino-based company.
Said tech giant, of course, had an even bigger Q4 2020
, shipping over 90 million iPhones (at least according to Digitimes) to surpass Samsung. Despite releasing its own latest and greatest flagships this quarter, Samsung
is not guaranteed to regain supremacy, with a Q1 2021 prediction of between 60 and 65 million unit sales that could end up ranking the company in either of the top two spots.
Galaxy S21 Ultra (left), iPhone 12 Pro Max (right)
What’s pretty much set in stone is that Apple will dominate the global vendor charts when considering the six-month period ending March 31, 2021, which is certainly no small feat. Given that the Galaxy S21
family is not proving hugely popular at the moment, Samsung might have trouble returning to first place in Q3 as well, not to mention Q4, when the redesigned and vastly improved iPhone 13 lineup
is obviously expected to see daylight.
In other words, while it’s far too early to make predictions of this sort with a solid degree of confidence, the 5G-enabled iPhone 12
roster may have put Apple
on the near-certain path to full-year worldwide domination. Granted, these handsets are themselves expected to dip in popularity, but said decline is looking pretty trivial
, at least for the time being.=
5G up, Huawei down
Speaking of 5G, it’s worth pointing out that this new report is largely in sync with many previous reports of a similar nature, anticipating a massive boost in sales of mobile devices supporting “next-gen” connectivity. We’re talking more than 100 percent year-on-year growth, from around 280 million units in 2020 to over 600 million in 2021.
Naturally, all of the world’s major smartphone vendors will make their contribution to this incredible progress, expanding and improving all of their 5G-capable product portfolios to reach more places and cover more market segments than before at a wider and wider price range.
While it’s hard to anticipate who will join Apple and Samsung on the global 5G podium this year, Xiaomi should comfortably sit in third place overall as far as the entire mobile industry is concerned for the October 2020 – March 2021 timeframe.
Xiaomi will basically continue to be the number one company benefited by Huawei’s woes
, especially on the old continent
. Huawei, by the way, could end the current quarter in sixth place overall, down from the silver medal position just a year ago, with a modest tally of under 20 million unit shipments. Ouch!